The Kanto region, first explored in the original Pokémon games on Game Boy, will soon be reborn in HD thanks to Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee. For many players, Let's Go will be their first-ever Kanto experience, while others will be returning to the region they fell in love with as children. Getting the look and feel of the region just right was a crucial point of development, and the visuals almost went in a completely different direction.
Pokémon producer Junichi Masuda and artist Kensaku Nabana have been on an interview tour answering all kinds of questions about the Let's Go games over the past week, and the duo tackled the topic of graphics in a recent IGN discussion. According to Nabana, the team originally considered making use of Switch's superior hardware (over 3DS) to push for a more photorealistic look.
"Really happy to hear you comment saying it's a soothing experience. That's exactly what we were trying to hear. Usually, when you would have much more power with the Switch and taking it into HD, I think the natural tendency is to go for a more photorealistic approach. In the earliest days of development, we actually explored that direction quite a bit. But we got the direction from Masuda, just like he just mentioned a moment ago, to go for this more kind and soothing and inviting experience with the visuals. After some experimentation, we just realized the more realistic, more photorealistic direction just wasn't really working for what we were trying to do." — Kensaku Nabana
Game Freak eventually opted against realistic graphics due to the tone of the game. Masuda and his team envision the Let's Go experience as relaxing and fun, and the more stylized visuals featured in the final build of the game better fit that theme. Are you happy with the end result?